CONYERS - The Salem soccer teams remained perfect in Region 8-AAAA South with victories over county rival Rockdale on Friday night at Reid Memorial Stadium.
The Salem girls (6-0 overall, 2-0 in 8-AAAA South) put on an offensive clinic, chalking up a 13-0 victory over Rockdale (2-7, 1-1) in the opener.
In the boys game, the Seminoles (6-2, 2-0) put the game away with an offensive flurry of three goals in less than three minutes late in the second half to claim a 5-1 win over the Bulldogs (1-8-1, 0-2).
Salem 5, Rockdale 1
Neither squad could dent the scoreboard in a scoreless first half, which saw both teams squander scoring opportunties.
In the second half, Salem struck for the first goal when Kwazi Yankey converted a header deep in the box off a brilliant feed by Nate Pulliam at the 6:05 mark.
The Seminoles appeared to be in control when Colin Easterbrook doubled their advantage with 22:15 left in the game off an assist by Blake Whitson.
But the Bulldogs, who missed on two scoring opportunities right after Yankey's goal, made things interesting with less than 20 minutes remaining.
After a foul in the box, Rockdale's Ryan Young converted the penalty kick to cut Salem's lead to 2-1.
But then, Salem's offense exploded thanks in part to one player - Daniel Aquilar. The senior set up two goals and then scored one to put the game away.
On the first goal, Bryan Jones converted Aquilar's cross deep in the box with 6:42 left to play.
The second goal was a thing of beauty as Jonathan Ryon buried Aquilar's aerial pass on a one-timer in the middle of the box with 5:29 remaining.
Aquilar took care of the fifth goal all by himself, blasting a shot inside the far post with only 3:56 to play.
"In the first half and a good portion of the second half, the spirit wasn't there. It just seemed like it took us the whole game to get warmed up and up to the speed we usually play at," Salem coach Sean DeWeese said. "Rockdale always gives us a good game. I know they're having a tough season, but they always come to play. On a wet field like this, there are always going to be defensive errors. Fortunately, we were able to captalize on theirs and they weren't able to capatalize on ours."
Salem 13, Rockdale 0
Sophomore Taylor Gates had two goals in each half as the Lady Seminoles rolled to an easy victory over the injury-depleted Lady Bulldogs.
Ashley Miller started the scoring just 4:16 into the game for Salem. After that, the Lady Seminoles scored four times in the final 18:34 of the first half, building a 5-0 halftime lead. Leighann Renz started the four-goal binge followed by Gates twice and Ashley Miller once.
In the second half, the Lady Seminoles tallied eight goals in the final 29:02 of the game. Gates started the scoring with back-to-back goals followed by Caitlyn Cofer, Brittany Miller (twice), Ashley Parker, Shelby Boggus Maryam Mahd.
It could have been worse. The Lady Seminoles hit the crossbar or the post seven other times.
"I thought we played really well, and I know that Coach (Patrick) Batubenge's team has a lot of injuries," Salem coach Heather Richardson said. "It was a good way to ease into the rivlary games. Any game in the county is always a big one. We're looking forward to the next region game coming up (at Loganville)."
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.